Affiliate Group of the Week

Affiliate Group of the Week #7: MU SASHA

January 3, 2013

Our campus groups do great things every day of the week, and rarely get the recognition they deserve. CFI On Campus Affiliate Groups of the Week was started to help groups to get their name out there more publicly and share their successes with the world. Each week, we'll pick a group that's doing fantastic work to highlight.

Up this week is the MU SASHA—the Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, and Agnostics at the University of Missouri - Columbia. Tony Lakey, the group's current president, agreed to answer some of our questions and share their biggest successes.

Tony Lakey and group
Members of MU SASHA with speaker Jerry Dewitt.

First, please introduce yourself. Where you go to school, graduation year, your background. What's your "atheist/secular conversion story," if you have one?
Hi, my name is Tony Lakey, I am currently the President of MU Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, and Agnostics (SASHA for short) at the University of Missouri - Columbia, where I study Philosophy and Sociology. This is my 4th year at Mizzou, but I will be there at least one more after this, all the more time to spend being a part of SASHA. I was raised Catholic and became an atheist my junior year of high school. It all came from a simple conversation some friends had at lunch one day where one mentioned he was agnostic. Having never heard the term before I began looking into it. I quickly ended up finding books by Hitchens, Dennett, Dawkins, etc. and learned about atheism which simply seemed to be a much more probably scenario to me.

How did your group get started? What year was it founded? Was there a specific event or incident that motivated you to create the organization?
SASHA was founded in the Fall of 2009 by Duell Lauderdale who had seen the absence of a secular group and decided to start one. 

What is your group's name? How did you decide on that name?
We have since discussed name changes but the name Duell chose was very inclusive and had a pronounceable acronym, so it has stuck.

How many members does your group have? What kinds of events do you hold?
We have a couple hundred members on our Facebook group, but most do not attend. Our average attendance is about 15-20, but we have had meetings with 50+ attendees. We hold weekly social get-togethers and every couple weeks we have a presentation of some kind. For example, one of our members, a law student at Mizzou, educated us on some of the legal battles about creationism and the classroom that are currently ongoing. 

As an example, could you share one thing your group accomplished that you're most proud of in the past year?
The event I am most proud of is the small conference we held Fall 2011 with Nate Phelps, Darrel Ray, and several other speakers. This year, we brought JT Eberhard to give a talk, which was very popular. We also organized several of our members attending Skepticon.

How did you hear about CFI On Campus? How have you worked with CFI On Campus in the past, and how do you hope to work with us in the future?
I first found out about CFI on Campus when JT Eberhard and Lauren Lane came to our campus to talk to us about Skepticon. I found out that we were affiliated already. Ever since it has been great meeting up with people from CFI and attending the annual student leadership conference. Every time I attend a conference I am sent home with a box of swag to hand out, and they are all always a pleasure to work with.

If you know of a group that you'd like to see featured here, please let us know at


About the Author: Sarah Kaiser

Sarah Kaiser's photo

Sarah Kaiser is a field organizer for CFI On Campus. Prior to her work at CFI, she got her start in the freethought movement as the co-founder and president of the Secular Alliance at Indiana University, where she helped organize a nationally recognized atheist bus ad campaign and large campus speaking events. As an atheist, a feminist, and a small part of the universe's way of understanding itself, she is thrilled at the chance to help advance CFI's mission. On Twitter: @sarahebkaiser.




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